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The Book of Filial Duty, by Ivan Chen, [1908], at


For his Mother's Sake he would bury his Child

In the days of the Han dynasty lived Kuo Chü, who was very poor. He had one child three years old; and such was his poverty that his mother usually divided her portion of food with this little one. Kuo says to his wife: "We are so poor that our mother cannot be supported, for the child divides with her the portion of food that belongs to her. Why not bury this child? Another child may be born to us, but a mother, once gone, will never return."His wife did not venture to object to the proposal, and Kuo immediately digs a hole about three cubits deep, when suddenly he lights upon a pot of gold, and on the metal reads the following inscription: "Heaven bestows this treasure upon Kuo Chü, the dutiful son; the magistrate may not seize it, nor shall the neighbours take it from him."

What a foolish action, that the sage Kuo should be willing to bury his own child! Fearing lest his mother should not have enough to eat, he is

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willing to resign his child to death; but when it is dead, what relief will there be for the grief of its affectionate grandmother? When a number of cares come at some future time, who then will be able to disperse them if the child is dead? But at this time the reflection that his mother would be in want filled his breast with grief, and he had no time to think of the future when he would be childless. Heaven having given him a dutiful mind, caused him to take a light hoe for digging the earth. Together Kuo and his wife went, sorrowing and distressed, by the way, until they came to a very hilly place, where they stopped. Having dug into the ground, suddenly a gleam of light shot forth, and the pot of yellow gold which Heaven had deposited there was seen. Taking it up, they clasped their child with ecstasy in their arms and returned home; for now they had sufficient to support their whole family in plenty.

Next: No. XIV: He seized the Tiger and saved his Father